Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is not currently focused on trying to purchase one of the online trading platforms, and the company does not see commission-free trading coming to the institutional markets, Chairman and CEO David Solomon said during an earnings conference call.
Speculation has risen that Goldman Sachs might have interest in purchasing one of the discount brokers because the company has been expanding its exposure to consumers with such offerings as its online banking platform Marcus and the virtual credit card it launched with Apple Inc. Also, online brokers are more susceptible to a takeout because they have faced valuation headwinds with their latest price war forcing some of the biggest names in the space to offer free trading.
However, Goldman Sachs does not appear close to making such a move. "The online or the discount brokerage area is not one that we're particularly focused on," Solomon said.
Solomon said the Goldman Sachs management team is thinking broadly about organic and inorganic growth opportunities that can expand its franchise. Earlier this year, Goldman announced the purchase of registered investment adviser United Capital Financial Partners, and Solomon said the company wants to continue growing the wealth management business.
"We're much more focused on the build out of that [and] ultimately tying digital capabilities to that," he said.
During the call, an analyst asked Solomon if he thought the cash equities business would ever offer free trading. Solomon said he expects to see more pressure on commissions but thinks it is unlikely they will become free, especially for the leading platforms.
"The organizations that have global scale and ability to use financing and balance sheet as an integrated capability I think should continue to do well," he said.